Hunter Biden, the son of President Joe Biden, has once again become a target for House Republicans. However, his recent offer to publicly testify before the House has created a public relations nightmare for the GOP.
Despite being issued a Republican-issued subpoena for a closed-door deposition, Hunter appeared on Capitol Hill and expressed his willingness to testify publicly. This offer to testify publicly as part of his father’s impeachment inquiry could prove detrimental for Republicans, as it raises eyebrows when they refuse to allow Hunter to testify in public.
Public relations experts have weighed in on the situation, stating that House Republicans will suffer in the upcoming elections due to their refusal to allow Hunter to testify publicly.
“Optics is the word because they’re all bad for the GOP contingency regarding Hunter. GOP plans for him are falling apart, PR-wise,” said Richard Laermer, a public relations expert.
Congressional leadership has already announced their intention to hold Hunter in contempt for defying their subpoenas, emphasizing that he will not receive special treatment because of his last name. However, Hunter has portrayed himself as willing to cooperate, stating, “I am here to testify at a public hearing today, to answer any of the committees’ legitimate questions.”
This change in strategy by Hunter has been described as a bold move by communications consultant James Haggerty. By challenging Congressional Republicans to fight things out in public, Hunter has shifted from dodging and weaving to a more aggressive approach.
Experts also believe that this shift in strategy could provide Hunter with a line of defense for a future contempt prosecution. He can argue that he tried to comply but needed the proceedings to be public to protect his rights.
Republicans are also facing criticism for their timing. They should have forced the issue when the controversy surrounding Hunter’s laptop peaked. Instead, they wasted valuable media time discussing the contents of the computer, which ultimately became a national joke. This lack of cohesion in strategy has not helped the GOP attempt to embarrass the president.
Attacking Hunter’s struggle with drugs and alcohol addiction could also backfire for Republicans. GOP strategist Alex Patton warns that such attacks make the GOP look foolish, especially considering that at least half of Americans know someone who is struggling with substance abuse problems.
While some experts believe that the accusations against Hunter and the impeachment will be a PR nightmare for Republicans, others argue that it will likely be noise and muddied water for Americans who are not paying attention to the Hunter Biden saga.